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Penn State Football All 105: LB Jonathan Sutherland

Photo by Penn State Athletics

All 105 is a Nittany Sports Now series profiling each Penn State football player. Here’s the first article of the series, profiling sixth-year senior linebacker Jonathan Sutherland.

Before Penn State: Sutherland came to Penn State as a four-star recruit from Epusicaoal High School in Alexandria, Virginia, but his hometown is Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Scout.com ranked Sutherland as the No. 2 safety in Virginia and No. 3 at his position in the east. 

2021: Played in 10 of Penn State’s 13 games and started two, seeing time at both safety and linebacker. It was his third season as Penn State’s captain, and he and quarterback Sean Clifford– also coming back for his sixth year– are the only two three-time captains in school history, with both having a solid chance for a fourth captaincy in 2022. Sutherland finished his season with 24 tackles (13 solo), with two of those being for a loss. He also intercepted a pass and broke up another. 

Where he stands: Although safety has been Sutherland’s primary position over his Penn State career, he’s now a linebacker, and although it’s not clear if he’ll be an every-week starter, his leadership and on-field ability should be essential to coordinator Manny Diaz’s first Penn State defense. 

Curtis Jacobs is Penn State’s only returning linebacker, and he plays on the outside. At 5-feet 11 and 210 pounds, Sutherland is an inside backer. With fellow ILBs Kobe King, Tyler Elsdon and Jamari Budden all inexperienced, Sutherland should play a significant role whether he’s starting every week.

A quote about Sutherland

Although Sutherland is now a linebacker, he still influences Penn State’s safety room.

Ji’Ayir Brown, another senior thought to be the leader of that group, said he still looks up to Sutherland.

“This guy is perfection, man, even though perfection is hard to come by,” Brown said after the Blue-White Game April 23. “I still learn from Jon. I still pick Jon’s brain on stuff that he excels in and that I might struggle in. Jon has been tremendous for me, the team and Penn State football.”

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